Federal Public Safety Minister tours Nav Centre

Nick Seebruch
Federal Public Safety Minister tours Nav Centre
Nav Centre General Manager Kim Coe-Turner (far right) tours the accomodations for the asylum seekers with federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale (centre).

CORNWALL, Ontario – Federal Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale toured the Nav Centre in Cornwall on Wednesday, Aug. 23.

The Minister was there to survey the conditions and accomodations of the asylum seekers being sent to Cornwall.

The asylum seekers are largely haitian in origin and have crossed into Canada through QUebec from the U.S. border.

They will be staying at Nav while their paperwork is being processed. Nav has pledged to house up to 500 asylum seekers.

“Today, I was pleased to meet with NAV Centre and government employees who are supporting the needs of the asylum seekers temporarily residing there while they await interviews with immigration officials to determine their eligibility for an Immigration and Refugee Board hearing,” Goodale said in a statement to the media. “I witnessed firsthand, at both the NAV Centre and Saint-Bernard-de-Lacolle earlier this week, that asylum seekers are being treated professionally and with compassion, and that the safety and security of Canadians is being protected.”

Goodale said that he met with Mayor Leslie O’Shaughnessy, several Councillors and Conservative MP Guy Lauzon to discuss their questions and concerns regarding the situation at the Nav Centre.

In a special meeting of council held on Monday, Aug 21, the main concern that was echoed by the Mayor and Council in that meeting was that there was no lead agency spearheading this operation.

In his statement, Minister Goodale emphasized cooperation between multiple organizations rather than identifying one lead entity.

“The Government Operations Centre in the Public Safety portfolio has been activated to ensure the ongoing coordination of the Government of Canada’s response to the increased numbers of asylum seekers,” he said. “Its officials are working closely with the Canada Border Services Agency, Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada, RCMP and the Canadian Armed Forces on the situation, and they are in constant contact with the Provinces of Quebec and Ontario, as well as with other government and non-government organizations, to ensure that it managed as effectively and efficiently as possible.”

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